IN an era where diesel engines are becoming ever more popular in the luxury segment Honda now have one of the best available.
Honda launched the new Accord range for Ireland last April, however the car I am testing this week, the Accord Type-S diesel is a new addition to that model line-up.
The current Honda Accord range consists of three versions, the ES, The Type-S and the Executive all powered by a 2.2 litre turbo diesel engine with power outputs varying from 150 PS to the higher power 180 PS Type-S diesel. Petrol engine options are available only by special order.
The Accord Type-S will appeal to those who want a more sporting element to their driving experience. Now I was always impressed by the Honda Accord, it is an excellent car, but this new Accord Type-S really left me asking myself why would you buy anything else in this class, it really is that good!
They say first impressions last, and I tend to agree in most cases at least. So when I first caught sight of the new Accord Type-S my first impression was of a rather stylish sleek purposeful looking car, with sporty overtones.
The Type-S benefits from lovely 18 inch alloys and a factory aero kit which adds aerodynamically refined front and rear bumpers to distinguish it from its stablemates.
Overall then the new Accord Type-S diesel is in my opinion one of the best looking saloons in its class.
Behind The wheel
Slip inside the cabin of the new Accord Type-S and one cannot fail to notice that this is indeed a quality car. The doors shut with a reassuring clunk. The materials used all feel and look very good. All the switches and buttons operate with a well engineered precision. Indeed there is an almost teutonic quality about the car. It seems to have lost that Japanese feel and that is a good thing. There is a very good driving position and even with the driver’s seat well back on its rails there is ample legroom in the rear.
Everything about the cabin feels just right. Standard equipment is very comprehensive and apart from the usual items we expect such as electric windows and so forth the new Accord Type-S boasts cruise control, auto lights and wipers, cornering lights, heated electric seats, advanced dual zone climate control which is linked to the standard satellite navigation system to detect the position of the sun and maintain cabin temperature accordingly, full leather trim, front and rear park assist, Bluetooth with voice recognition, a rear parking camera, electric boot release, an in-dash 6 CD changer, which by the way is linked to one of the best sound systems I have experienced in some time, USB/ipod Aux ports, Bi zenon headlights to name but a few. Safety equipment as you would expect is equally comprehensive, with a host of airbags, ABS, EBD, ESP and so on. This new Accord Type-S lacks for nothing really!
The new Accord Type-S diesel is powered by a 180 PS iDTEC turbo diesel engine which proved a most impressive power unit.
Mated to a lovely close ratio 6-speed manual gearbox the combination is just about perfect. Acceleration from a standstill is very good but even more impressive is the mid range torque which results in real “shove in the back” acceleration, perfect for overtaking safely and easily. For the record Honda claim a 0 to 100km/h time of 8.8 seconds and an impressive top speed of 220km/h.
With emissions of 147g/km the new Accord iDTEC falls into tax band C. Over my week behind the wheel it proved frugal too burning on average just 7.2 litres of diesel per 100km, giving this Accord a range of almost 700km between refuels.
Very few manufacturers manage to get that illusive combination between taut handling and smooth ride, usually one is good and the other suffers, but Honda have succeeded here where others have failed. Noise levels are commendably low and overall the car has very high levels of refinement.
I really enjoyed every kilometre behind the wheel. This car is a joy to drive, proving responsive, agile, nimble and surefooted under all conditions. The real hidden asset though is just how well it does everything with superb driver feedback. This Accord iDTEC is a true driver’s car yet manages to reward its passengers with equal aplomb.
Entry to the new Accord range begins with the Accord ES iDTEC costing €31,465. The new Honda Accord iDTEC Type-S as tested here costs €40,220.
I test many new cars over the course of a year and to be fair there are only a handful that I would really desire, the Accord Type-S though is such a car. It is fabulous to drive, better equipped than its rivals, frugal, yet fast and can accommodate the needs of a family or business user with ease. In short it is one of the most complete cars around.
I highly recommend you test drive one, but beware you too may become hooked!
Road Tested By Hugh Maguire